The hubs follows Tim Challies‘ Facebook Page, and would forward me articles from him so much that in the middle of this year, I started following his page as well. As an author and church elder, he writes mainly articles relevant to Christian men, but I have learnt a lot from his posts too.
So when his new book Do More Better was launched, he offered a pdf copy to bloggers who’d like to review it. The hubs forwarded that application link to me and so, here we now are. Since we both read it, we have both reviewed it! 🙂
Here is the hubs’ review:
In a busy society such as Singapore, we are often overwhelmed with the numerous tasks that we need to complete. This applies to us, when we are fulfilling our different roles at the work place, school, church, or in the family. For me, in order to cope, I have been using a simple check list on my Phone, stating down the necessary dos and don’ts for each day / week. But truth be told, there have been times when I wake up in the middle of the night, wondering whether I have forgotten to jot down an important task that I need to do.
Given my occasional struggles to balance the numerous responsibilities that I am entrusted with, my interest was piqued when I chanced upon a book entitled “Do More Better” (The title sounds like a Singapore campaign slogan!). Tim Challies, one of my favourite Christian bloggers, wrote this book to help people become more productive. Unlike other self-help productivity books that I know, he gives a Christian perspective on why it is important for Christians to give due consideration on its importance of productivity.
Challies deftly defines productivity as follows:
Productivity is effectively stewarding my gifts, talents, time, energy and enthusiasm for the good of others and the glory of God.
He then proceeds to ask his readers to define their responsibilities (and by extension, what they are NOT responsible for), and to drill out on what these responsibilities entail. Once the personal audit is done, he then guides the readers by suggesting various productivity management tools that could help. He also encourages his readers to persevere to use these tools, as using them frequently would help them get better at it.
What I love about the book is the simplicity of some of his suggestions. So simple that one would think is obvious. However, when one ponders of the suggestions, it is so profound. One example: “A home for everything, and like goes with like”. As someone who misplaces things at home (keys are always “lost”, when you need to rush out of the house), I can’t agree more with this suggestion. I cannot keep track of the amount of time wasted, searching for something that I know I should keep properly, but never do. *Cries*
Overall, I feel that Challies makes a compelling case on why Christians should aim to be productive, as we are called to be effective stewards of our resources, including time. There are some great suggestions contained within (“A home for everything, and like goes with like”). It is very useful to do a personal audit of your roles and responsibilities, as we are all prone to taking on new things when we are already struggling to cope with existing ones.
I do not doubt that there would be some people who would find his suggestions of productive management tools very useful. However, I would say that if there are other ways that can help you to manage your tasks just as effectively (and not using the high-tech methods of apps), I would say that people should feel free to use those methods too.
The end goal is still the same: to be as productive as we can, so that we can “effectively stewarding my gifts, talents, time, energy and enthusiasm for the good of others and the glory of God”.
I felt the same as the hubs. Personally, I really liked the first one-third of the book, which contained important truths of the theology of work. I felt encouraged, inspired, edified by the correct handling of God’s word with regard to productivity, that it did not mean doing more so that we could be “self-fulfilled”, or “earn more money”, but that we could do more good to others, and thus glorify God, which is after all, our primary purpose as Christians here on earth.
The steps of auditing one’s roles and mission were easy to follow, and an excellent way of reflecting upon one’s life and activities. So timely for the end of 2015, and the beginning of a new year.
On the tools recommended (one each for tasks, calendar, information), I have already been using different versions of such tools to organise the 3 aspects of my life, so I felt quite affirmed there. Another thing that I do is to disable notifications from all my apps, so that I’m not constantly distracted by ‘new stuff’ coming in. It’s a form of “Don’t call me, I’ll call you.” Must say that it then requires more discipline on my part not to be constantly checking, but I think that’s good self-training.
So if you are looking to reflect on how you are organising your time so that you are the most efficient and effective in His Kingdom, this is a good book to read. It’s short, sharp, practical. To God be the glory for the things He is doing through our brother Tim.